When a fad reaches saturation, it’s often ready to start dying out, or at least transition into something else. Since it seems that everywhere you turn, someone is talking about the mistakes and must-haves for your personal brand, has this fad run its course? Are you a skeptic or fanatic for personal branding?
Where do you stand on personal branding?
- Do you read the hype about a personal brand and roll your eyes?
- Or are you an established thought leader in your industry?
First, let’s address the overachiever end. Most of us will never be thought leaders in our field. I don’t mean to discourage you, because a very few of you will. For those who succeed, it won't happen overnight. It will be more like the experience of the artist, athlete, or musician who already has talent and then spends 10,000 hours trying to be the next Gary Veynerchuck. It could happen, but it is not the reason, as a sales professional, that you need a personal brand.
On the other end of the spectrum are those who roll their eyes every time someone gets on a soap box about social media and personal branding. If you’re skeptical of the whole brand thing, you may have good reason to be. Social media has become a circus. Our friends repost things online they would never say in person, and most people we know have not necessarily enhanced their brands using social media.
Most of us struggle just to keep our LinkedIn profile current.
Both extremes exist, but they are not where most of us live online. Most of us dabble in social media, use it more with friends than for work, and have no desire to build our own empire.
Do we need a personal brand? Yes, and no.
- Yes, you do need a personal brand.
Fact: an effective inbound marketing program actually could have prospects reaching out to call you.
In effect, you would be a thought leader in your narrow field, but not the way we’ve been led to believe what a thought leader is. You won’t be instantly recognized when your name is mentioned, but you may offer some guidance to a few dozen or even a few hundred prospects who need to understand what you post. It can be a very small footprint, yet still be effective.
But the main reason the answer is, “Yes, you need a personal brand,” is because the LinkedIn profile that you started and rarely update is used more often than you realize by prospects to check out who you are and why you keep calling them.
Download our free checklist, 75 Action Verbs to Describe Your Personal Brand, that will provide you with powerful words to help you communicate your value.
- No, you don’t need a personal brand.
The reason you don’t need a personal brand is that the whole concept is evolving into something else. The younger you are, the more you probably understand that. Those of us who lived through the days of mass media and mass marketing think of a personal brand as something you build, and build it big. It’s a lot of hard work, and only Apple, Starbucks, and Google are ever the winners.
In reality, your personal brand is simply your digital footprint. It should be made like you might blaze a trial, one step at a time, with each post, each LinkedIn update, and each blog you share.
Where should you leave your next footprint?
Your brand is not something you need to strategize about for days or weeks. It’s just your insights and experiences shared online. You build it little by little, day by day. As you share what you know, or what others (like prospects) might be interested in, you build a brand.
Whatever you are currently doing or selling right now, you probably have experience and insights that others would find valuable, or at least interesting. Share it. And share why you think it would be of interest. One post at a time.